Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Wildflowers at Dicks Creek (Part 1)

April 13th, 2013. The rangers at Dockery Lake had told us that trilliums were blooming at Dicks Creek in the Chestatee Wildlife Management Area. After it proved that Boggs Creek Recreation Area would be a productive site for wildflowers, we wanted to go over the Dicks Creek and check out the trilliums there. We had started along the road to Dicks Creek previously but abandoned that trip in favor of visiting Boggs Creek. Now it was time to go back and follow the road into Dicks Creek.
The road into Dicks Creek passes through a lot of privately owned land before it reaches the wildlife management area. The road side had been mowed and the area didn’t look very promising. Our first reward for persisting was…

coming around a bend in the road and getting a beautiful view of a waterfall on Dicks Creek. 

We continued up the road and it was a while before we found our first prizes of the afternoon. In the open, on a west-facing slope, we found a patch of

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple, May Apple, May-apple, American Mandrake) plants,

Most plants were single-stemmed and not setting blooms. Only a few had ‘split’ stems with developing buds. Mayapples may be found in many counties in the Piedmont counties in Georgia.

And, hiding in plan sight on the embankment below them was a row of…

Thalictrum thalictroides (Rue anemone, Windflower, Rue-anemone) plants in bloom. This species may also be found in the Piedmont counties in Georgia

An individual flower. These plants always look too delicate to be thriving and flowering in full sunlight.

The road continued along the hillside in a relatively open area above the creek and we spotted plants I would have expected to find in more sheltered areas.

A couple of Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon’s Seal) plants that were…

Beginning to set blooms. These plants are also found in the Piedmont counties of Georgia.
From the open area, the road passed by a series of steep, sheltered embankments that were moist compared with the open areas. Here we found promise of a variety of wildflowers.

Iris – probably Iris cristata (Dwarf Crested Iris) - were sprouting. This species is found mostly in north Georgia counties.

We found a single plant in bloom, a harbinger of things to come.

Epigaea repens (Trailing arbutus, Mayflower) plants were still in bloom on a couple of embankments. This species is found mainly in the Piedmont counties of Georgia.

A close view of the flowers.

We also saw some Goodyera pubescens (Downy Rattlesnake Plantain) plants on the embankments. It’ll be a couple of months before these bloom. These are also found in the Piedmont counties of Georgia.

Another surprise. We found a couple of Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot, Red Puccoon) plants.
This species may be found in some coastal plain counties as well as in Piedmont counties.

This plant had bloomed as indicated by the developing seed capsule.

In this section of the road, we had seen some favorites and also some new wildflower plants – Trailing Arbutus, Dwarf Crested iris, and Bloodroot.

The road forded Dicks Creek and climbed up the side of the hills to parallel the creek at a slightly higher elevation. There were some treasures still to come...

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification Resources:

Southeastern Flora

Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia:


United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database:

- Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)
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